Health Symptoms Women Should Pay Attention To

Life can often get so hectic that women can forget to stop and take care of themselves. We may over look health concerns or think that they will pass, but it’s important for us to pay attention to our bodies and know when to see a doctor. These are five symptoms you don’t want to ignore and should give your doctor a call about. 

Woman talking with doctor about women's health concerns.

1. Pain in Chest/ Difficulty breathing 

Though it is the number one killer of women, heart disease is often over looked. Because chest pain is subtler in women than it is in men, most women are likely to ignore the symptoms and believe they will get better. 

Dr. Ruth Stewart MD, assistant professor at Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University says in this Everyday Health article “It’s not the classic ‘elephant sitting on my chest’ feeling. Sometimes it’s just discomfort or a not-well feeling.”

If you’re feeling discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in your chest, or even if you’re feeling “off” it may be a good idea to see a doctor. 

2. Fatigue 

This can be hard to diagnose since women are often going in many different directions and may see tiredness as a part of life. But not sleeping could lead to more serious health concerns. Fatigue could be a sign of sleep apnea or depression and could lead to fertility issues. 

If you’re having a hard time sleeping it’s worth a conversation with your doctor to see if there may be something more serious going on. 

3. Sudden Weight Gain 

You can often fluctuate weight along with your menstrual cycle, or if you haven’t been paying as much to attention to your diet. But if weight gain is very sudden and drastic and you have not made any significant life changes recently, it may be time to see a doctor. Sudden weight gain could be a sign of a thyroid issue or polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

4. Bowel Changes 

Bowel changes can be normal if you have changed your diet or ate something different recently. But if you notice the change is prolonged or there is blood in your stool, you should consult your doctor. 

Changes in your bowel could be signs of colon cancer, which "…is currently the third leading cause of cancer-related death for women, and it is unfortunately a disease that often goes undetected in the earliest, most treatable stages," board-certified gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD MSCI told Bustle.

These changes do not always mean cancer, they could be a sign of inflammatory bowel syndrome or diverticulitis. Both of which need to be treated by your doctor. 

5. Vaginal Itching

Vaginal itching can often be a sign of more than just some discomfort. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is inflammation caused by the over growth of bacteria. The symptoms can range from vaginal itching to a “fishy” odor and burning when you urinate. 

Even if you have had some itching or discomfort in the past, don’t wait to see a doctor if you have these symptoms. BV can increase your risk of contraction STIs such as herpes and chlamydia

These are just some common health symptoms that women often overlook. When considering your health, remember that it is ok to make an appointment with your doctor to have them check out any symptoms you may be having - even if you think they aren’t a big deal. To make an appointment with a Westshore Primary Care doctor, contact us today: 1-888-754-2131 

DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.

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